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Customer Insight

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Circling the square - converting consumer insights into actionable recommendations
Crystal Nathan and Johanna Campbell ESOMAR Consumer Insights, Dubai, February 2009

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Circling the square - converting consumer insights into actionable recommendations Crystal Nathan and Johanna Campbell ESOMAR Consumer Insights, Dubai, February 2009

Circling the square – converting consumer insights into actionable recommendations
Crystal Nathan The Nielsen Company, Australia Johanna Campbell Frucor Beverages, Danone, Australia PREAMBLE “My goal is simple. It is a complete understanding of the universe, why it is as is and why it exists at all.” Stephen Hawking Although the goal is termed as simple, it is a monumental albeit fascinating task and qual research often gets endowed with that task in a marketing environment. Hence, the hunt to explain the reasons behind a particular phenomenon or phenomena and arrive at insightful solutions continues. Having said that, Qualitative research also comes under the axe for producing results that are “too conceptual and airy/fairy” or “not robust enough to be actionable” or as the ubiquitous client would put it “telling me things that I already know” or better still “not giving me enough insights”. So how does one combat this? To the authors of this paper, the answer lies in not just adopting the proverbial “thinking out of the box” route but also identifying the insights and enclosing it with actionable recommendations … thus circling the box or square. (see Figure 1.)

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Figure 1: Circling the square Whilst one has a fair understanding of what an insight is, how does one identify it? To us, an insight is always “in sight”. it lies there waiting and wanting to be discovered, understood and empowered. the challenge thus lies in the hands/mind of the researcher – to never lose sight of it, to pounce upon the organic cue be it verbal or non verbal which may well be camouflaged in the myriad of data, to employ an analytical construct and eliminate “other” possibilities, to interpret its role in a business environment and finally to communicate and convince the audience of its power and potential. The objective of this paper is to showcase the power of qualitative insights and demonstrate how it can be converted into actionable recommendations. THE CHALLENGE V is an established energy drink brand in the pacific market. The brand has three variants in its portfolio namely, sugar free V, V Black and most recently V Berry. Post investment in flavor development and innovation, the client wanted to gain a better understanding of the triggers and barriers towards consumption and the decision making process for V and its key competitors in Australia. The key business objectives were as illustrated in Figure 2.

Figure 2: Business objectives Research Methodology An extensive qualitative research employing the DeltaQual methodology was conducted amongst males and females in the

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age group of 18–35 years. The design consisted of Depth Interviews, Accompanied Shops, In Store observations and Group Discussions. It included Energy drink consumers of varied frequencies/brand userships and non-consumers. The userships were defined as per past research. (see Table 1.)

Table 1: Sample composition INSIGHT NUMBER ONE: BUSTING THE USERSHIP MYTH Based on the consumption habits, consumers have historically been segmented into Heavy, Medium and Light users. Employing the Tools in the Trade Using the journey technique combined with cognitive interviewing, which is a technique used in DeltaQual, the researchers were able to bust the usership myth. The technique revealed that the type of usership is actually driven by the lifestage and occasion and not necessarily by volume of consumption. Therefore, Consumers tend to transition from Light to Heavy to Light consumption depending on the actual life stage they are in. Recommendations Nielsen proposed using a different variable for segmentation i.e. life stage based vs. frequency of Usership. Recommendations in Action Previous profiling work within Nielsen Panorama1 focused on exploring the similarities and differences between Heavy, Medium, Light and Lapsed Users across the Energy category and by brand. The research findings provided the lifestage context which enabled Nielsen Media to refine the Panorama analysis and identify the core prospects to grow the V brand with greater confidence. In addition, as a result of these findings, additional consumption questions regarding frequency and time of day were added into Panorama for ongoing tracking purposes in order to provide greater insights to the marketing team. INSIGHT NUMBER TWO: PRYING THE BRANDS APART Throughout the research, a constant theme that kept emerging was the manner in which the brands were perceived in the minds of the consumer. The positioning of these brands remained consistent not only between V users and competition users but also across different age cohorts. Although Energy Drinks were heavily consumed at various occasions, a perceptible difference was evident when the brand was matched to the occasion. Employing the Tools in the Trade
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An idea map was used to delve deeper into this difference and the results were fascinating. V and Competition users consistently matched V with occasions such as “late night studying”, “staying awake”, “hung over”. The association analysis revealed that these occasions revolved around negative emotions such as Pressure, Stress, Guilt, etc. at a subliminal level. Other key factors that emerged was the brands' undoubtedly superior taste and strong brand following. Its key competitor Red Bull, on the other hand, was effortlessly matched with “partying hard”, “having a wild time”, “living on the edge”, etc. – all associations being aspirational in nature. Furthermore, the brands' strong relation with Alcohol and Sports strengthened its offering in the market coupled with Red Bull's on premise presence vs. V's lack of it. Armed with this ammunition, the researcher took the liberty of constructing collages (as opposed to thrusting mounds of textual evidence to the client) and presenting it to the marketing and advertising team. This helped draw (pun intended) out and communicate the differences clearly. Figures 3 and 4 present two brand collages.

Figure 3: Brand collage for V

Figure 4: Brand collage for Red Bull Actionable Recommendations The following recommendations were put forward: l Reposition the brand from the current compensation (negative to a neutral state) to Augmentation (enhanced/positive state) of energy.


Conceptualize the effects of the brand; demonstrate the manifestation of the energy: a la cause and effect in the creative
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campaigns. l The brands' strong connection with “late night studying” and therefore school/uni environment endowed the brand with a boring, no fun image. Hence it is vital to introduce relevant outdoor occasions along with the current occasion

Recommendations in Action: January 2008 The conceptual and executional cues were incorporated into an extensive media campaign which went live nationwide in January. (see Figure 5.)

Figure 5: Get animated campaign

Figure 6: Creative campaign INSIGHT NUMBER THREE: LEVERAGING THE EXISTING PORTFOLIO In order to increase the quantity of purchase and thereby consumption and encourage switching from competitors, it was critical to trigger temptation in the store. Employing the Tools of the Trade Accompanied shopping along with cognitive interviewing methods revealed that consumers were more disposed to browsing in the grocery channel when compared to any other channel. Furthermore, whilst Heavy users were accustomed to walking into
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the store with a mission, Light users were inclined to give into impulse purchase. Actionable Recommendations Along with Store compliance and cross category signage, a recommendation to introduce a multi variant pack was made. This would not only increase awareness levels but also serve as an effective attraction and retention strategy. Recommendation in Action Frucor went ahead and launched the pack in January of 2008 in the grocery channel as recommended by the research team. (see Figure 7.)

Figure 7: Launch of the party pack A recent analysis of the scan data reveals that the launch of the Party pack has indeed created excitement in the market and has resulted in an incremental growth of 18.9% to the total V sales (Source: Retail YTD March 2008). (see Figure 8.)

Figure 8: Incremental growth to v owing to the v party pack IN CONCLUSION Whilst the research was not simple, the clients felt that it did help them in gaining a thorough understanding of the consumers, their interaction with the brands and their shopping habits. From the researchers' perspective, it was certainly enjoyable meeting with respondents inside and outside stores and expounding the wonders of energy drinks. The mounds of data from 76 interviews were analyzed using grounded theory. Keeping with the “Less Is More” theme, the presentation consisted of less than 30 slides. A one “in a nutshell framework” slide

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depicting the overall story with the recommendations was also constructed and given to the clients. Due to the commercial sensitivity of the powerslide and respecting the clients' wishes, the author has not included it in this submission. From the researchers' point of view, this study helped us in devising a strong omega rule which has in turn led to many a delta moments with the clients. We would like to conclude this paper in the words of a conscientious and passionate quallie who once remarked: “Believe in your data, know what you can do with it and deliver it with a passion… Empower your recommendations with an emotional and actionable currency because if you are not convinced about it, the client will never be but most importantly have fun whilst doing it because if you don't, the goal ceases to be simple and so does one's existence as a quallie!!!” ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The foundational work on adapting contemporary thinking in cognitive psychology to understanding consumer choices and decision making was done by Duncan Stuart, Director, Kudos Organizational Dynamics Ltd; Alistair Gordon, Consultant to The Nielsen Company and Fiona Cameron, Executive Director, Qualitative Product Management and Development, The Nielsen Company. The DeltaQual methodology and analytical framework was used extensively in this research. FOOTNOTE 1. Panorama is a syndicated Multi media database that incorporates information collected from people aged 14+ years nationally. The data is collected through a combination of an online self complete survey, and fused media currency ratings for TV (OzTam) and Radio (NMR). REFERENCES Maeda, John. The Laws of Simplicity Martin, Neal. The 95% of Behavior Marketers Ignore Plous, Scott. The Psychology of Judgment and Decision Making Ries and Trout. The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing The Cocktail Bible: Over 600 Cocktails Shaken, Stirred and on the Rocks

© Copyright ESOMAR 2009 ESOMAR Eurocenter 2, 11th floor, Barbara Strozzilaan 384, 1083 HN Amsterdam, The Netherlands Tel: +31 20 664 2141, Fax: +31 20 664 2922 All rights reserved including database rights. This electronic file is for the personal use of authorised users based at the subscribing company's office location. It may not be reproduced, posted on intranets, extranets or the internet, e-mailed, archived or shared electronically either within the purchaser’s organisation or externally without express written permission from Warc.

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